There are two ways to look at the NFL Network's handling of the Thursday/Saturday Night football games.
The first is that it is a shrewd business decision, calculated to coerce (force?) cable companies to carry the network as part of their basic cable packages. The second is that they are just plain greedy, not carrying that although there are many people who enjoy football games, their tactics would force everyone to pony up, whether they wanted them or not.
In a move that brought cries of outrage from people across the state of Wisconsin, the Packers game was considered local only in Milwaukee and Green Bay, so many fans were prevented from seeing what was most likely Brett Favre's final home game. Now, granted, this has not been a stellar year for the Pack (but hey, I'm a Bear's fan, so I'm good), but to choose this game for Thursday night, and black it out across most of the state all the while offering it for FREE to cable subscribers in New York just ain't playin' fair, folks.
It's great that Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner says "We want our fans to see the NFL Network, not just tonight, 365 days a year, because we think we have high-quality programming." He also says he 'shares the pain of Packers fans who weren't able to watch'. Then he turned around and denied the league was using such a high-profile game as a bargaining tool, trying to force cable companies to carry it as part of their basic package.
John Miller, spokesman for Charter Cable Communications in Madison spoke to the Wisconsin State Journal in a story published Thursday "We want to carry NFL Network, but because they are asking such a high price to carry it, we feel the best place for it is on a digital sprots tier. That way those who don't want the network won't have their bills impacted. The NFL Network is a costly service."
So, who's right here? Is it really that costly, and the NFL Network is trying to stick it to the cable companies by dictating where it can be carried? Or, is it that the cable companies see it as a money making opportunity by putting it as part of their premium sports package? Either way right now, the fans lose.
On My Honor...Always